Being a successful online casino operator requires you to invest a large sum of money. It also requires you to create a clever business strategy, obtain software, licenses, and payment processing systems, and hire the necessary partners and staff to operate and market your business. Yet, even with all these necessary components in place, many iGaming operators will fail to survive their first year in the industry. While there are a number of reasons that can lead to failure, in some cases, failure results from making common mistakes that could have been avoided.
The following is a look at the 10 most common mistakes that new online casino operators make, and how you can avoid them:
1. Poor User Experience
The mistake: Operators are so focused on offering the latest games and the best promotions that they fail to take into account their site’s functionality and user experience (UX) as a whole. They assume players won’t care about the site design as long as there is entertainment for them to enjoy. However, players will not be willing to deposit money on a site that is clunky, slow to load, and difficult to navigate, no matter what games you offer.
How to avoid it: Make sure your site is functional with a user-friendly interface complemented by a clear and easy-on-the-eyes design. Long gone are the days of flashing banners, lots of animations, and content stuffing. When it comes to online casino design, less is more. Simple layouts with large obvious buttons and drop-down menus that can be easily accessed in a few simple clicks are favoured by today’s online gamblers, over busy designs. Nothing should be a puzzle. Everything that is important should be available and transparent. As such, ensure your site has:
- Visual appeal – Choose a colour scheme that is pleasing to the eye.
- Easy-to-find buttons – Buttons should be obvious and in plain sight.
- Quick and easy navigation – Users should not have to hunt for what they want. They should be able to access games, payments, etc. in as few clicks as possible.
- Fast and simple registration – Players should be able to sign up with minimal information in a couple of clicks.
2. Lack of Mobile Compatibility
The mistake: Online casino operators fail to design a site that is mobile compatible. In today’s world, not having a mobile-friendly or mobile-specific version of your site available is immediately setting yourself up for failure. With an estimated 74% of all casino players using their mobile phones as their preferred gambling device, and mobile gambling revenue having surpassed $63 billion, you can bet that more than half of your customers will expect a premium mobile casino experience.
How to avoid it: Have an omni-channel platform. This means ensuring a seamless and smooth operation across multiple channels including desktop/laptop, tablets and mobile phones. Your casino needs to function well on smartphones, properly fitting the screen of the device and providing quick access to all the great games, offers, payments, etc. that can be accessed via desktop. In short, consider offering:
- Mobile-friendly site – Either a site that is mobile-compatible or an independent mobile version of your site.
- Mobile-friendly game – All games should be playable via mobile and it is worth considering having HTML5 mobile-first games.
- Mobile apps – Native apps available for iOS and Android devices.
- Mobile payments – mobile wallets, and other payments designed for mobile.
3. Unclear information regarding rules, terms and conditions, privacy, etc.
The mistake: iGaming operators fail to have transparent policies and rules that inform players of what exactly is expected of them and what they can expect from the casino. Providing clear and concise information regarding privacy policies, regulations, licensing, responsible gambling, etc. is necessary to avoid misunderstandings and to build trust with your customers.
How to avoid it: Be candid when it comes to the regulations, legality, and security of your online casino’s operation. This not only includes letting customers know how you run your business and what rules apply to them when they play on your site, but also how you handle their sensitive information. More specifically, the information you should provide includes (but is not necessarily limited to):
- License information – Clearly show what licenses you hold and related info (license number, year, etc.)
- RNG Certifications – Mention any certifications you have to show you have fair RNG (Random Number Generator) software that is regularly audited by respected, independent third-party organizations (e.g. eCOGRA, iTech Labs, etc.)
- Security – Explain what security protocols you use (e.g. 128-bit SSL, etc.)
- Payments – Provide customers with information regarding deposits and withdrawal methods, including mentioning minimum/maximum deposit and withdrawal requirements, any fees, processing times, etc.
- Restricted countries – List the countries from where customers are restricted from playing.
- Bonus terms and conditions – Provide transparent bonus terms and conditions that plainly state withdrawal requirements and an example of how the requirements work.
- Responsible gambling – Explain what responsible gambling is, why you take it seriously, and list/explain the tools and resources you provide to help players stay in control of their gambling (e.g. setting limits, reality checks, taking breaks, self-exclusion, self-assessment test, contact information for organizations that offer support for problem gambling, etc.)
4. Poor Player Support
The mistake: Casino operators fail to provide customers with swift and reliable support. Players who find support to be too slow or unresponsive will be dissatisfied, will no longer trust the casino and will take their business elsewhere. Poor customer support could lead to your brand becoming blacklisted in player communities.
How to avoid it: Whether it’s a question, concern, compliment or complaint, you need to do everything possible to respond to customers promptly and solve any issues. Player support is how you communicate with your customers. It tells them just how reliable you are and how dedicated you are to living up to your promises. When there are concerns regarding payments, withdrawals, account access, not receiving a bonus, security issues, etc. players need to know that they can count on you every step of the way, day or night, whenever they might need support. Examples of reliable support include:
- 24/7 customer support – If 24/7 support isn’t an option, offer support for 7 days a week for as long as you can each day.
- Multilingual support – Try to provide support in the languages most frequently spoken by your core target market.
- Detailed FAQ – Provide players with a self-help option.
- Quick response times – Respond within seconds/minutes, hours or no later than 24 hours (depending on the communication channel used).
- Multiple communication channels – Offer live chat, email, telephone, social media messaging, etc.
5. Limited Games Portfolio
The mistake: Failure to offer a wide choice of games and customizable game options. If your iGaming platform does not provide a diverse range of user-friendly content, it will not be able to compete with the thousands of other casino sites on the same market.
How to avoid it: In this day and age, it’s simply not enough to offer slots and a few table games. As much as possible, you need to provide players with a virtually endless choice of games to play. And the more engaging and customizable you can make their experience, the better. Ways to avoid making the mistake of offering a mediocre playing experience include:
- Wide selection of virtual games and game types – Slots, Jackpots, Roulette, Blackjack, Poker and other table and card games, Video Poker, Bingo, Slingo, Scratch Cards, arcade-style games, etc.
- Live casino games – A live casino provides players with a whole other level of excitement, allowing them access to an interactive real-world gambling experience in which they can participate in real-time via the convenience of desktop and mobile.
- Games from multiple providers – Partner with as many different and legitimate game providers as you can to create a games portfolio with the greatest diversity in terms of themes, graphics, animations, etc.
- Customizable game settings – Provide players with options to set the colour, auto mode limits, speed of spins, adjust/mute background sounds, create a favourites list, etc.
- Release new games on a regular basis – Fresh content can keep players returning and is ideal for marketing.
6. Limited Payment Options
The mistake: An online casino operator fails to offer a diverse range of payments and have slow deposit and withdrawal processing times. Players who cannot pay using a preferred payment method in their preferred currency, or those who have to wait before they can play or wait a long time to receive their withdrawn funds, will most certainly trade you for your competition.
How to avoid it: The whole point to operating an online casino is to get players to spend money in your casino. Payment processing needs to be clear, simple, straightforward, secure and as swift as possible. Players shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to deposit or withdraw their money and they should be able to see exactly what payment methods are available to them, what currencies they can use, and the regulations regarding these methods. Your objective is to offer a wide range of trusted payment methods and providers, especially those that appeal the most to your target audience. This includes:
- Popular payments – Credit/debit cards (Visa, Mastercard, etc.), eWallets (Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, etc.), prepaid cards (paysafecard, ecoVoucher, etc.), and bank transfers are common types of online casino payments.
- Local payments – The payment methods most frequently used by your core target market.
- Alternative payments – Consider including mobile-specific payments and cryptocurrencies.
- Multiple currency support – Try to offer the currency most commonly used by your target player audience.
- Fast deposits and withdrawals – Always aim for instant deposits and a quick withdrawal processing time. The less time customers have to wait to play and wait to claim their funds, the happier they will be!
7. Lack of Localization
The mistake: The iGaming operator fails to appeal and/or meet the needs of their targeted audience(s). What is worse than a site that lacks localization is one that is poorly localized, which only serves to cut down the casino’s reputation.
How to avoid it: If you want to attract players from various countries, you need to localize content for each audience. By doing this, it makes it easier for players from different countries to navigate and understand your site with greater convenience, comfort and ease. When localizing your site keep the following in mind:
- Multilingual content – Make your site (and games) available in as many languages as you can, especially the languages associated with your targeted audiences.
- Professional translation is a must – Only present your site in the languages that can be translated accurately. Grammatical and stylistic errors will be seen as unprofessional, can lead to misunderstandings, and ultimately lead to players distrusting your site. Hire only professional translators or copywriters.
- Other localization considerations – Beyond language, other ways to localize your site includes providing local payment methods, local currency, and games that are popular in specific regions.
8. Having No Defined Marketing Strategies
The mistake: Some online casino operators do not make the best use of marketing tools and fail to provide players with the incentive to sign up and the incentive to continue to return. There are thousands of online casinos. With this much competition, it’s not enough to offer a welcome bonus and run the occasional promotional campaign. Players need to feel valued and motivated to keep playing at your site.
How to avoid it: Both acquisition and retention marketing strategies are needed for a successful online casino operation. This means driving players to your site with attractive welcome offers and then retaining them with regular promotions, rewarding loyalty, and keeping their experience as engaging and gratifying as possible. Examples of key marketing strategies include:
- Affiliate marketing – Affiliate programs are a cost-effective way to drive quality traffic to your site.
- Bonus System – Bonuses (welcome bonus, deposit bonus, no deposit bonus, reload bonus), free spins, tournaments, and jackpots are all great ways to attract and retain customers.
- Game developer promotion options – Gaming content developers can offer promotional tools with their games (e.g. free spins) and also run special network campaigns with a variety of prizes.
- Gamification – Make your site more engaging and rewarding for players by adding missions or levels that they can complete by playing real-money games that can earn them comp points and/or non-monetary website currency (exclusive to your site), and that they can then use to purchase bonuses, free spins, site merchandise, etc.
- Loyalty/VIP Rewards Program – A system that rewards players for their loyalty by offering them exclusive perks, offers, higher deposit/withdrawal limits, and special invitations to events based on their loyalty/VIP level. This tends to be an ideal system for high rollers.
9. Underestimating the Power of CRM
The mistake: Operators who do not use tools and systems that help them better understand their customers. It is not sufficient to simply offer a wide range of games and promotions to retain players, you need to go that extra mile to tailor their experience to suit their preferences. Without the proper CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system in place, you will lack the technology that is needed to get the most out of your players’ lifetime value.
How to avoid it: Use a CRM system that collects detailed user data. This provides you with information about player behavior, preferences and trends so that you can enhance user experiences and establish long-term relationships with your customers. More specifically, with CRM you can:
- Segment customers – Divide customers into certain groups with high potential.
- Provide tailored offers and bonuses – Put the most ideal promotions in front of the right customer at the right time.
- Manage customer preferences – This helps you provide better customer service.
- Track customer expenditures – Find out customers’ preferred payment methods and on what games they spend the most.
- Track the success of marketing campaigns – Measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns with greater accuracy.
10. Choosing Poor Quality Software
The mistake: Believing that all software is created equally and all suppliers are reputable. There are many iGaming software platform suppliers offering white label, turnkey and API solutions. However, not all of them can offer you the most ideal services and features that are best suited to your business goals. More importantly, not every brand can be trusted.
The solution: Take the time to research and learn about the companies that interest you. Starting an online casino business is a huge investment and even adding content or additional features/services to an existing site, can be costly. Make sure you partner with and/or purchase software solutions from trustworthy businesses. Here are a few tips:
- Investigate what they offer – Find out what is and what is not included in the software solutions they offer.
- Find out who their partners are – If you are thinking of choosing a white label or turnkey solution, find out who the company’s partners are in terms of game providers, payment providers, etc.
- Technical support is a must – Never settle for anything less than high quality 24/7 technical support. Your operation runs 24/7, support should, too.
- Request a demo – Try before you buy. Many company’s offer a free demo to provide you with a taste of what you can expect from their product.
- Read trusted reviews – Reading trusted iGaming software provider reviews, like those provided by TCS, is a convenient way to get the details you need about the industry’s best companies and compare them.
An online casino operation demands continual support and maintenance, so it is important to ensure that your site runs as smoothly, efficiently and as quickly as possible. Equally, remember that user experience isn’t only about running a site that doesn’t lag. It’s also about making sure that you are constantly staying ahead of the curve by adding fresh content, creating a tailored and reliable experience, while adopting new marketing strategies to appeal to today’s iGaming customers.
Never forget, it is the UX that matters most to your players. It is what affects the reputation and the profitability of your brand. Online casinos that make the mistake of neglecting the user experience, will suffer the consequences.
Ultimately, as an online casino operator, you will find that is better to prevent problems from occurring in the first place than it is to solve them. While it is easy to make mistakes, it is easy to avoid making many of them as well. Choosing a premium iGaming software platform provider, like those TCS recommends, is the first step in the right direction!